People interested in medical science communication in museums are well advised to broaden their vision to other domains of science communication studies and practices. There is much to be learned from science communication studies dealing with a wide array of sciences through a variety of media.
One forum for such learning from others is the series of annual ‘Science and the Public’ conferences in UK. These meetings aim to bring together, as the organisers put it, “the various strands of academia which consider science’s relationships with groups generally called ‘the public’” (I must admit that I love that phrasing, “groups generally called’ the public'”, it sounds so academically keep-a-distance-ish :-).
Next year’s meeting is going to be held at Imperial College in London, 3-4 July 2010. Alice Bell and her organiser-colleagues are expecting participants and contributions from a wide range of disciplines, like science and technology studies, history of science, geography, psychology, cultural studies, media studies, sociology, development studies, English literature, science policy studies and much more. And the range of topics covered may include (but are not limited to):
* PUS, PEST, PR.
* Surveying public knowledge and attitudes.
* Science and the arts (including science fiction).
* Science, publics and personal identity.
* The role of industry and/ or the third sector in public engagement
and scientific research.
* The challenges of ‘upstream’ engagement.
* Popular science and professionalization.
* Specific public-science issues: e.g. climate change, MMR, energy policy, GMOs.
* Studies of specific media: e.g. film, books, the internet, museums, radio.
* Science, religion and the ‘New Atheism’.
* Politically engaged scientists.
* Churnalism vs. investigative science journalism.
* Scientific advisers, spin and secrecy.
* Patients and publics in health services.
* Science and the sceptics.
* Amateur science.
(Thanks to Alice for the info).